Howard Wilkinson: Politics and More

Credit WVXU-FM

Howard Wilkinson joined the WVXU news team as the politics reporter and columnist in April 2012 , after 30 years of covering local, state and national politics for The Cincinnati Enquirer. On this page, you will find his political blog, his weekly column, Politically Speaking; the Monday morning political chats with news director Maryanne Zeleznik and other news coverage by Wilkinson. A native of Dayton, Ohio, Wilkinson has covered every Ohio gubernatorial race since 1974, as well as 14 presidential nominating conventions. Along with politics, Wilkinson also covered the 2001 Cincinnati race riots, the Lucasville prison riot in 1993, the Air Canada plane crash at Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport in 1983, and the 1997 Ohio River flooding. And, given his passion for baseball, you might even find some stories about the Cincinnati Reds here from time to time. 

john mccain
Howard Wilkinson / Personal Collection

Editor's note: John McCain died Saturday at the age of 81 from brain cancer. In the story that follows, originally published in May, WVXU politics reporter Howard Wilkinson recalls his many times on the campaign trail with the Arizona senator and former presidential candidate. 

carolina beach postcard
Wikimedia Commons

If you lived for a time in a place known as "Pleasure Island,'' you might think that would be a pretty good place to hang your hat.

Well, I did. And it wasn't.

Patrick Semansky / AP

Some people find this hard to believe, but the race in Ohio's 1st Congressional District between Democratic challenger Aftab Pureval and Republican incumbent Steve Chabot really is one of the most competitive House races in the country.

WVXU-FM

WVXU politics reporter Howard Wilkinson talked with New Director Maryanne Zeleznik Monday morning about President Trump's scheduled appearance at the Ohio Republican Party's annual dinner in Columbus. Trump's visit could end up being used as a tool to motivate both Republican voters and Democrats to go the polls in November. 

reporter's notebook
Jennifer Merritt / WVXU

Think about it - what's the one indispensable tool of your job? The one tool without which you would barely be able to perform your duties?

Public Domain/AP

Before Tuesday's event fades into the as-yet unwritten history of the 2018 mid-term elections, here's an offering of a few thoughts on Vice President Mike Pence's speech before about 400 Trump supporters in a Cincinnati hotel ballroom:

mike pence
Bill Rinehart / WVXU

Vice President Mike Pence, in front of an audience of about 400 ardent supporters of his boss, President Trump, at a downtown Cincinnati hotel ballroom, spent an hour talking about a trilogy of ideas that all made his listeners very happy.

WVXU-FM

WVXU politics reporter Howard Wilkinson spoke Monday morning with News Director Maryanne Zeleznik about the Ohio governor's race. They talked about the issues Democrat Richard Cordray and Republican Mike DeWine are talking about on the stump; and the prospect of debates between the two. 

julie and martin weckerlein
Courtesy Julie Weckerlein

I have a lot to thank you for, Julie and Martin Weckerlein.

aftab pureval sunshine ad
Aftab Pureval / YouTube

Updated: 9:24 a.m.

This time around, TV ads featuring a stuffed toy duck squawking Aftab! – well, that just won't do it.

WVXU-FM

WVXU politics reporter Howard Wilkinson talked this morning with WVXU's Jay Hanselman about Tuesday's special congressional election in central Ohio's 12th Congressional District, which has become the focus of attention in this year's battle for control of the U.S. House. A win by Democrat Danny O'Connor over Republidan Troy Balderson would be considered a big boost for Democrats running in traditionally Republican district around the country. 

1997 flood
Mark Lyons / AP

One thing I have learned over decades as a reporter: As horrible and destructive as natural disasters can be, there is something about them that bring people together to survive and get back on their feet.

donald trump
Evan Vucci / AP

You may well look at your ballot in November and see the names of more women candidates than you can ever remember – especially for local offices.

About time, many of you will say.

And, to put it in its simplest terms, you have one person to thank for that.

Karen Kasler / Ohio Public Radio

Ohio Senator Rob Portman says the United States' needs to consider new sanctions on Russia's government in order to change its behavior.

hillary clinton mailings
Carolyn Kaster / AP

Most of the American people have never seen Hillary Clinton lose her temper or blow her cool, reasoned demeanor in public.

Not even when she would have been entirely justified in doing so, after being provoked again and again two years ago.

sales tax petition
Public Records

There is a three-foot stack of forms over at the office of Hamilton County Auditor Dusty Rhodes that contain 38,065 signatures.

Some are the legitimate, valid signatures of Hamilton County voters.

Some are not.

aftab pureval steve chabot
John Minchillo / AP

Democrat Aftab Pureval appears to be making headway in his bid to unseat U.S. Rep. Steve Chabot, according to one of the nation's leading political publications.

WVXU-FM

WVXU politics reporter Howard Wilkinson talked with News Director Maryanne Zeleznik Monday about speculation that Ohio's senior senator, Sherrod Brown, might be interested in running for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2020. First of all, though, Brown must focus on getting re-elected this fall. 

barack obama dayton
Skip Peterson / AP

Ed. note: Howard Wilkinson launched his "Tales from the Trail" column on July 15, 2017, in an effort to take you behind the scenes of politics and hear some of the funny—and occasionally outright bizarre—situations that happen on the campaign trail. Since Wilkinson has been covering politics for more than 40 years, he has plenty of stories to tell. To mark the one-year anniversary of his column, we are republishing Wilkinson's first-ever "Tales from the Trail" here today.  

aftax sales tax petition
Howard Wilkinson / WVXU

Hamilton County Republicans who mounted a petition drive to put an issue on the November ballot repealing a .02 percent increase in the sales tax marched into the county auditor's office with a tall stack of about 37,800 signatures Wednesday afternoon.

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